REL Midwest Documentaries
The Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest (REL Midwest), one of ten regional educational laboratories funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, serves the educational needs of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
Explore these documentaries to learn more about the topics we cover:
Understanding the ESSA Tiers of Evidence
Each year, school and district leaders across the country choose programs, strategies, practices, and policies to improve students’ learning. Although districts and schools have flexibility to choose interventions under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and states’ definitions of the ESSA standards may differ, the law encourages school and district leaders to choose evidence-based interventions shown to improve student outcomes. This video explains the four tiers of evidence, as outlined in ESSA, and how schools and districts can use them to rate an intervention’s potential effectiveness on improving student outcomes. View the related handout (PDF) >>
Kindergarten: Where Play and Learning Can Meet
What can kindergarteners gain from play-based learning? This documentary explores the advantages associated with a play-based approach in kindergarten and features stories of how two Illinois school districts made the transition to play-based learning. It also includes scientific findings about the cognitive and social-emotional benefits of play from experts Dr. Roberta Golinkoff (University of Delaware), Dr. Christina Weiland (University of Michigan), and Dr. Eboni Howard (AIR).
Making It: Latino Students’ Pathways to College
The Latino student population has risen from 8.8 million to 17.9 million and now makes up almost a quarter of students in U.S. schools. Educators are working to tailor Latino students' education to reflect their cultural needs and prepare them for college and career readiness. This documentary highlights the predominantly Latino Cesar Chavez Academy High School in Detroit and the College Assistance Migrant Program at Michigan State University and reveals best practices for educating Latino students and preparing students for college.
Ready for the Future: Career Preparation in Rural Communities
This documentary is about the unique opportunities and challenges facing rural communities in Minnesota as students explore and prepare for careers.
Supporting Black Students’ Excellence: Connecting Research to Practice
Teachers and administrators in the Racine Unified School District in Wisconsin are implementing several strategies to improve educational outcomes for Black students. This video connects these strategies with a REL Midwest research review of promising practices educators can use to support Black students.
Learning English: Diverse Students in American Classrooms
In partnership with WVIZ/PBS ideastream, REL Midwest created a 30-minute, documentary-style public television program that presents the research on academic supports for English learners. Stories from the Cleveland Metropolitan School District's Multilingual Multicultural Education Program connect the research evidence to practice by highlighting real students, teachers, and school and district leaders.
Learning Upgrade: Technology in Iowa Schools
This informational video, produced with Iowa Public Television, covers research-based strategies for the successful use of education technology. The video focuses on the recommendations of the National Education Technology Plan and highlights promising practices from Iowa schools.
State of Teacher Preparation: Research and Stories from Early Years in the Classroom
In partnership with Detroit Public Television, REL Midwest created a 30-minute, documentary-style public television program on evidence-based best practices for new teacher preparation and support. The program features three novice teachers in Metro Detroit whose experiences highlight the importance of quality preparation, clinical experience, and ongoing mentorship. Also featured in the program are veteran teachers, school leaders, researchers, and leaders from teacher preparation programs and the Michigan Department of Education.